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mum23
05-09-2007, 05:10 PM
I have struggled with wether to make this womens fiction or keep it to the genre it is intended, non fiction, true-life. Could anyone have a gander and see if this reads ok. I am having trouble with past and present tenses but cant see the wood for the trees at this time. Help!!

Prologue


I awake from my supposedly restful drowse agitated and a little out of sorts. I tug at the covers that are stuck fast wrapped around the sleeping mass that is snoring beside me. My husband has cocooned himself with the duvet at some point during the night because he hates being cold, so I give him a prod and the covers another yank. ‘Selfish sod.’ Annoyed I roll over and touch my lower back wincing from the immediate pain. 'Bloody bed, definitely need a new one.' Don't get me wrong I love my husband I completely adore the man and I am very happily married. He is the most attentive, devoted human being I could wish to be with, an impatient so and so all the same like many of the male species, but is a vastly different character from that of my ex husband. He is a bully. So with a sigh and unable to get comfortable I decide to get up, kicking my feet over the edge of the bed. I sit for a moment as the recurring dream that has caused me to wake, other than my husband’s snoring, plays repeatedly on my mind. The image is so clear it seems it happened only yesterday. I am driving in my car, it is a beautiful summer afternoon and the sun has been hot for days. Folk don their sunglasses and lower shades in their cars; bare-armed overweight women fan themselves with newspapers or magazines, irritable with the heat. Children holding ice cream they lick eagerly drops onto their newly washed t-shirt, they gaze up at their mothers who glare back at them disapprovingly. My palms are sweaty as I grip the steering wheel, my young daughter gurgles happily, fastened into her seat behind me. I am fizzing with excitement yet apprehensive with nerves. Excited, hoping I may bring about a change concerning my husband not seeing his child, nervous because I will stand face to face with his ex wife and try to have a calm and civil conversation regarding her daughter and I just don’t do confrontation.

Sakamonda
05-09-2007, 07:15 PM
Honestly, this reads like one long run-on sentence. I can't follow what the paragraph is supposed to be about, or what kind of story you're trying to tell. It's all over the place, and lacks focus. It doesn't "grab" me. What exactly are you writing about? It's not clear at all.

Focus your paragraph on one thing, and one thing only. Craft a killer opening sentence that "grabs" the reader and forces him or her to want to keep reading. You aren't doing that right now; indeed, I had to force myself to painfully finish the entire paragraph, which doesn't make a lot of sense at this point.

mum23
05-09-2007, 08:30 PM
Honestly, this reads like one long run-on sentence. I can't follow what the paragraph is supposed to be about, or what kind of story you're trying to tell. It's all over the place, and lacks focus. It doesn't "grab" me. What exactly are you writing about? It's not clear at all.

Focus your paragraph on one thing, and one thing only. Craft a killer opening sentence that "grabs" the reader and forces him or her to want to keep reading. You aren't doing that right now; indeed, I had to force myself to painfully finish the entire paragraph, which doesn't make a lot of sense at this point.

Thankyou for your honest reply. I have played about with my paragraphs for ages and I still haven't got them right. I am aware I need to grab my reader so try this;

' How dare you stand on my doorstep, you are nothing to do with my daughter, never have been, never will be. I really am not going to talk to you so can I suggest you go away.' She is standing in her doorway sporting a fixed, malevolent smile; glasses perched at the end of her nose. The tall frame of my husbands ex wife looms over me as I pay particular attention to the clear but spiteful message she delivers. While she is glaring at me I stare back at her. No, I don’t have anything to do with her daughter I have to agree with that; I’m just married to her daddy.



I am writing about my life as a stepmum, but what I am finding hard is "entertaining" my reader. I have had such an awful time I am struggling finding my entertaining streak. I know its there itching to get out.

Sakamonda
05-09-2007, 09:08 PM
This is better, but I think you've still got a long way to go to make this paragraph (and story) in engaging. Why is your husband's ex-wife on your doorstep? What's she angry about? What are you feeling? These are all unanswered questions that need attention.

Sakamonda
05-09-2007, 09:17 PM
You also need to work on basic grammar and punctuation. Your writing is riddled with grammar/punctuation errors.

WildScribe
05-09-2007, 09:20 PM
I agree with Saka. It doesn't grip me at all, it jumps around a lot, and the grammar and punctuation errors have me confused and frustrated. Good luck.

mum23
05-09-2007, 11:01 PM
Thankyou both for your comments, will go back and have a look. Even though i'm English, been a long time since I wrote anything at length defo need a polish so sorry to frustrate.
This was simply an opening bit, there is more that describes why I was there in the first place, I just wanted to dip my toe so to speak.
Thanks again for the comments.

mum23
05-10-2007, 10:44 AM
Ok i'm back. Does this read better or is it time for me to give up? Thanks


' How dare you stand on my doorstep you are nothing to do with my daughter never have been never will be. I really am not going to talk to you so can I suggest you go away.' She is standing in her doorway sporting a fixed, malevolent smile her glasses perched at the end of her nose. The tall frame of my husbands ex wife looms over me as I pay particular attention to the clear but spiteful message she delivers. While she glares at me I stare back at her. No I don’t have anything to do with her daughter I have to agree with that, I’m just married to her daddy. She slams the door in my face leaving me standing on her path. Through the obscure glass I beg her to talk to me pleading, willing to sacrifice my own marriage to save the relationship between my husband and his daughter. It seems I have been standing there for an eternity and time is somehow stopped. I feel exposed and humiliated like those hidden meaning dreams where I am naked, feeling very self-conscious but everyone else around me go about their business, my nudity going unnoticed.

slsherwood
05-11-2007, 03:58 PM
It's hard to start off a passage with a quotation because when you quote someone you need to 1) introduce who is speaking before they speak, and 2) give context to the quotation to help readers understand why this quote is quotable.

I'd recommend rewinding this scene by somewhere between a few seconds to a few minutes and starting there. How did you end up on her doorstep? What were you thinking as you walked up to her front door and knocked? How long did it take before she opened it? Did she know who you were? What did you say? Did she let you say anything before she began her rant?

I think the dialogue is a bit unrealistic. Did she say all of that without a breath? Was it in response to something you said? Is it something she has said over and over before?

What I like -- I like the tall frame of your husband's ex-wife looming over you. It is a fantastic image, but it also foreshadows the idea of how this woman and the custody battle is looming over your marriage.

You might want to recognize how she sees you too. You mention she glares at you, but what do you look like? How do you compare to her? She looms over you, wears glasses, but what do you look like? Is that physical comparison part of why she covers you in hate? Are you the "upgraded model" that she resents?

My 2 cents,

Linda Sherwood
www.lindasherwood.com

mum23
05-11-2007, 10:02 PM
Its so hard to decide what to open with. Its only the first bit and the rest comes after as the story unfolds (hoping to entice the reader to move on asking the very questions you ask) Thanks for the imput.

Ritergal
05-12-2007, 04:26 PM
Mum,

You've only posted a wee bit of this story. Have you written more? Personally, I wouldn't obsess over the start until I had a draft written. If you keep writing, you may find that the opening will become clear later.



Listen to your heart and write the draft, then use the craft, to grip the minds and touch the hearts of readers.

Best wishes as you ...

Write on!

Sakamonda
05-12-2007, 05:22 PM
Mum, don't give up if you can't get your writing to work in only a few drafts. Serious writers spend YEARS developing their craft. Doing 100s of rewrites is not uncommon for serious professional writers. Writing is an art form that can take a lifetime to master. Do not expect quick results, do not expect to be perfect the first time out (nobody is). I recommend you take some introductory writing classes, since a lot of your problems deal with basic grammar, spelling, and narrative form. Don't try to turn out a full-length book until you've mastered the basics. Good luck.

mum23
05-13-2007, 06:49 PM
Thanks for all the comments. I do actually have a 64,000 word document that I thought was ready to submit to an agent, but I was told it read like more like an essay than a story. I was told I needed to add feelings, smells, allow the reader into my life or perhaps become me, so this is what I am trying to work on. So I can safely say I have a draft, start middle and end, just need to make it more "entertaining" as far as such a sad story can be.
No i'm not a writer, I just thought someone in a stepfamily life would be able to relate to and not feel so alone. I have many personal letters and diary entries I have used in my original piece of work that I am now trying to re work into the new piece. All I was asking in the inital question was, is there enough feeling, did you want to read more, do you really want to enter my world? Those sorts of questions. I am currently working on my manuscript, just trying to find a new direction.